Guest Post: How I Handle (or Don’t Handle) Reviewer Criticism by Joanna Wiebe, Author of The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Posted January 27th, 2015 in Blog Tour, Guest Post / 19 comments

Guest Post: How I Handle (or Don’t Handle) Reviewer Criticism by Joanna Wiebe, Author of The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Guest Post: How I Handle (or Don’t Handle) Reviewer Criticism by Joanna Wiebe, Author of The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant (Blog Tour & Giveaway)The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe
Series: The V Trilogy #2
Publisher: BenBella Books on January 20, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Blog Tour
Purchase: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Life and death, light and dark, spirit and flesh-on Wormwood Island, the lines are always blurred. For Anne Merchant, who has been thrust back into this eerily secretive world, crossing the line seems inevitable, inescapable, destined.

Now, as Ben finds himself battling for the Big V and Teddy reveals the celestial plan in which Anne is entwined, Anne must choose: embrace her darkly powerful connection to a woman known as Lilith and, in doing so, save the boy she loves...or follow a safer path that is sure to lead to Ben's destruction at the hands of dark leaders. Hoping the ends will justify the means, Anne starts down the slippery slope into the underworld, intent on exploring the dark to find the light. But as the lure of Lilith proves powerfully strong, will Anne save others-only to lose herself?

Welcome to The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant Blog Tour. I think this series sounds pretty dang good. I hope you guys enjoy the guest post below where Joanna Wiebe talks about how she handles reviewer criticism. Check out the tour wide giveaway at the end as well.

 Guest Post

How I Handle (or Don’t Handle) Reviewer Criticism

by Joanna Wiebe

The one thing they never tell you in creative writing classes is that people are going to read your stuff and tear it apart. Publicly.

Well, maybe they teach that today.

But when I was in uni 13 years ago, Goodreads didn’t exist, there was no such thing as a tweet, and, with only a fraction of the books on a still-young Amazon bearing reviews, you had to pick up a newspaper to get a book review. The majority of people bought books by going to the bookstore, browsing, and grabbing one or two based largely on whether i)| they were visible on the shelf and ii) the back cover copy was interesting enough.

Now, reviews are everything.

Covers are important, sure. Yet a book with a beautiful cover but only 25 reviews and a <4-star rating is less likely to be snapped up online than it might in a bookstore.

“Shelving” online is all about the reviews.

Which means that my livelihood as an author depends on reviews.

Which is scary as s***.

Here, Take My Heart and Stomp on It for All the World to See

Rejection is part of the experience of being a writer. It’s like the filter that keeps the would-be writers out.

Rejection starts when you first submit your short stories to small magazines and get back rejection slips. It continues when you query literary agents and, in return, receive rejection letters or emails. Once you start working with your agent, you get notes from them that can feel like rejection. But then you proceed to the on-submission phase, and you think all is well… until you get rejections from publishers, too.

For every one blessed moment of acceptance on the road to publishing, there are 10 or more traumatizing rejections.

So why should things change after your book’s in print?

It would seem that the Great Rejection Filtration System would ensure that, by the time you’re through all those rejections, what’s left is crystal-clear, sparkling-pure genius that no person could possibly reject.

Your agent loves it.

Your editor loves it.

The marketing team loves it.

You had to go through so many stages of rejection and approval to get to the point of being published…

…so the reviews should all be glowing!!!

Wrong. Obviously.

You’ve just gone from acceptance in a tiny part of a tiny world to exposure to the entire English-speaking world.

It’s like doing well in high school, getting accepted to MIT, and then showing up to find yourself surrounded by people who’ve battled the same things to get to where you are, and the professors – or reviewers – aren’t impressed.

Plus, they’re going to post your grades for everyone to see.

The Question Is: Did You Go to University to Get Graded… or to Learn, Grow and Improve?

Reviews are grades assigned to your work by a broad range of people. You can’t progress without good ones. But the grade is really not the point.

It’s taken me a while to come to terms with that fact.

Everyone wants to get an A+ on everything. I most certainly do. I’m a Type A. I’ve always been at the top of my class. If I were a Harry Potter character, I would definitely be Hermione. I love gold stars, warm comments from the teacher, and glares of hatred from the other students.

Add to that my need to get kudos from the people closest to me. My sister called me one day last year and just said, “I think you’re amazing. You know that, right? You’re so amazing. Don’t ever forget that.” To which I replied, “Who said what about me on Goodreads?”

Bad reviews suck.

But they’re not the point.

I can read reviews today without losing my lunch. I can sleep at night because I’ve learned to take the good with the bad. And, more than that, I’ve learned to look at reviews as notes for consideration.

There was a time when I wanted to stop reading reviews entirely.

But if I did that, I’d lose all the useful notes. Like the reviews that say my pacing is great. And the reviews that tell me to avoid dance-offs in the future. And the very specific review that taught me I was using “comprised of” and “composed of” wrong, which I had no idea about!

At this point in my writing career, I’m as grateful for my reviews as I would be for any feedback I’d get on a paper in school. As long as reviews of my books help me grow – without destroying my will to live – I say, the more, the merrier! Let’s hear it.

About Joanna Wiebe

By day, Joanna is a copywriter and the co-founder of and, a critique site for published and unpublished writers. As an undergraduate student, Joanna won several academic awards for excellence in creative writing: Canada's James Patrick Folinsbee Prize, which she won twice, as well as the Godfrey Prize.

After graduating, she lived for a year on the remote northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, which is the inspiration for the verdant Wormwood Island of the V Trilogy. She holds a BA in Honors English and an MA in Communications from the University of Alberta and lives with her partner Lance in Victoria, British Columbia.

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is her first novel and the first installment in the V Trilogy.


This is a tour wide giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

TWAOAM_BlogTourSchedule 2

Monday, January 12th – Reading YA Rocks – Guest Post
Tuesday, January 13th – Literary Meanderings – Interview
Wednesday, January 14th – Such a Novel Idea – Interview
Thursday, January 15th – Of Spectacles and Books – Guest Post
Friday, January 16th – Bewitched Bookworms – Guest Post

Monday, January 19th – To Each Their Own Reviews – Guest Post
Tuesday, January 20th – Bumbles and Fairy-Tales – Author Interview
Wednesday, January 21st – Aphonic Book Reviews – Guest Post
Thursday, January 22nd – Her Book Thoughts – Guest Post
Friday, January 23rd – Book Lovers Life – Guest Post

Monday, January 26th – Jump Into Books – Interview
Tuesday, January 27h – Bad Bird Reads – Guest Post
Wednesday, January 28th – Addicted Readers – Interview
Thursday, January 29th – Behind the Pages – Guest Post
Friday, January 30th – Curling Up With A Good Book – Interview

Blog Tour, Guest Post

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19 Responses to “Guest Post: How I Handle (or Don’t Handle) Reviewer Criticism by Joanna Wiebe, Author of The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant (Blog Tour & Giveaway)”

  1. kindlemom1

    Loved this post. So many great points. I couldn’t imagine being an author and having my work dissected like that and not have it affect you in some way or another.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I think it affects every author in some way, you just have to learn to take the punches in stride.

  2. Anna

    I do my best to have the critters and betas rip my work a part, hoping that will give the reviewers less ammo. But we can’t please everyone and that’s a fact. 🙂

    • Jennifer Bielman

      That’s is a good idea, but yeah, every reader is different. Not everyone would even love a “perfect book”

  3. Lekeisha

    Great post! I always wonder if authors read all if the reviews if their book. I try not to be cruel when reviewing books, but at the same time try to say what I didn’t like. Different strokes for different folks is what my mom always said to me. Everyone has different views on books. And that’s still okay. Okay? (Do not laugh at my lameness) LOL! I’ve been watching TFIOS again. Blame John Green!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      LOL, I know what you man. I try not to be cruel either, but sometimes I get too impassioned. I always do blame the ‘book’ instead of the author though.

  4. Braine Talk Supe

    I love your post, very honest. This is why I try my bestest best to be objective when I dislike a book. I try not to take it personal and bash the author and also I know every book you pen is your “baby” so to say it’s bad is like telling you your kid is ugly. Very wrong.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I try to never say the author did something bad, instead the book did something bad. Seems nicer.

  5. Christy

    Nice guest post. Criticism can be difficult to take in any area of life, so it’s good you can deal with it. The book sounds interesting.

  6. Red Iza

    We can’t love all books, but what bothers me more in reviews on GR is that some people don’t take the actual time to explain why they didn’t like a book, or do it in a way that I find offensive for the authors – or the other readers ! I don’t like people who want to appear so witty that they like to thrash books with a few sparkling words. Sometimes, bad reviews can be useful : I happened to buy books more than once upon a bad review, because the reviewer hated everything that I loved 🙂

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I don’t like when reviewers get nasty and give no detail. I too have bought books others hated and loved them.

  7. Jaclyn Canada

    I love this! What’s so great is also the mention of Harry Potter characters because we all know by now that she was rejected by publishers so many times but kept going. Also, I’m still continuously seeing negative reviews of Harry Potter as well so it just goes to show that not everyone is going to love every book.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      There will always be negative reviews on books others love. To each their own, you know.

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